How Long Does A Nose Piercing Take To Heal

In this article, you will find out how to quickly treat a nose piercing infection. This will help to prevent any infection getting worse and will get rid of the signs of an infected pierced nose fast. At the end of the article you will learn when you should see a doctor if the nose piercing infection looks bad.

This Is How to Clean a Nose Piercing the Right Way

Isabelle Lichtenstein

Isabelle has been contributing to Byrdie since 2020. She has worked in digital media for over five years and is an expert on a range of topics, including tattoos, piercings, and culture. Her work can be seen across the web on Backstage Magazine, Merry Jane, Vulture, and more.

Updated on 06/17/22
Reviewed by

Headshot of tattoo artist Cozmo Faris.

Cozmo Faris is a professional piercer with more than 12 years of experience who teaches for the Association of Professional Piercers.

Professional Piercer
Fact checked by

Cherisse Harris

Cherisse Harris is a fact-checker with a focus on lifestyle, beauty, and parenting. She’s worked in research for nearly two decades.

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Nose piercings are a super popular choice for those looking to change up their look or ease into body modification. Their commonality doesn’t make them cheesy, though; instead, the ubiquitous piercing type is a delicate adornment for the face that can easily be swapped in or out depending on your style or mood. If you’re considering getting your nose pierced, the most important thing is to be sure that you’re seeing an experienced and licensed body piercer. It’s also a necessity to closely follow aftercare procedures so your piercing stays safe from infection. To help ease your mind, we reached out to the experts for tips on how to clean a nose piercing.

Meet the Expert

  • Rachel Nazarian, MD, is a board-certified dermatologist with Schweiger Dermatology Group in New York.
  • Maria Tash is a fine jewelry and luxury piercing designer.

Keep reading to learn what else you need to know to be sure you’re properly caring for your new nose piercing.

Common Types of Nose Piercings

According to Tash, the most common kinds of nose piercings are nostril and septum piercings. “We also come across a lot of double piercings, or matching left and right nostrils,” she adds.

Nose Piercing Aftercare

Just like a tattoo, a nose piercing is an open wound that requires routine and safe aftercare. The risks for nose piercings are even greater thanks to their location in the area between your upper lip and your eyebrows. Because the veins in this area are connected to your sinus cavity, any problem in this area could be serious. The most likely issues stemming from improper aftercare are bleeding, loose jewelry, scarring, or an infection.

“The greatest concern following a nose piercing is to minimize any chance of infection. Infection can lead to scarring, and even jeopardize your overall health—and many infections prevent continued use of your piercing,” says Nazarian.

To make sure the healing process goes as smoothly as possible, wash your hands before you touch your piercing or jewelry. Don’t soak your piercing in any water (other than saline solution) until it’s fully healed. This means you should stay away from swimming pools, hot tubs, saunas, and baths during the healing period.

The time it will take for your nose piercing to fully heal depends on the location just as much as it does on your aftercare. A nostril piercing takes roughly three to six months to heal, depending on the thickness and type of jewelry. A septum piercing (placed in the soft connective tissue that lies between the nostrils), however, will heal in closer to two to four months, as there is less tissue between your nostrils for your body to reconstruct.

If you’re wondering whether the aftercare is different for a hoop versus a stud piercing, Tash says it’s the same. “A ring takes a bit longer to heal because it is more likely to get hit or moved by outside factors (towels, clothing, rolling over while sleeping, etc.).”

Bella Thorne ombre hair cbr nose piercing

How to Safely Clean a Nose Piercing

Ahead, find step-by-step instructions for cleaning your nose piercing safely and hygienically.

  • Always use clean hands whenever touching your piercing. “The nose is filled with a high volume of bacteria, and infections are common in this area, so don’t manipulate the piercing within the first two to three weeks,” notes Nazarian.
  • Use saline or salt water solutions. “Clean the area of the piercing twice a day with saline, or salt-water, which prevents infection by preventing the growth of bacteria, and is a gentle way to clean a new piercing,” advises Nazarian.
  • Avoid using a cotton swab or round as the fibers can get caught in the piercing. “Apply a saline wipe to both the inside and outside of the piercing. After five minutes, gently wipe away any visual discharge or softened crusting with the edge of the saline wipe or a piece of gauze,” Tash adds.
  • Clean your nose piercing twice a day, every day, until the full healing process is complete. (Again, this can take several months.) During this time, it is important to clean both inside and outside the nostril. “Try not to blow your nose during the healing time unless after cleaning said piercing or in the shower,” says Tash.
  • Keep the jewelry just as clean as the actual piercing. Wash the metal lightly with mild or gentle soap each day (the best time is during a shower) to remove any bacteria or crust around the jewelry.

To make your own salt soak, mix a teaspoon of non-iodized sea salt with a quart of distilled water.

Nose Piercing Bumps

Bumps around your nose piercing are fairly common and are usually the result of poor cleaning habits. In most cases, these bumps are the result of mild infections around the piercing site, which only emphasizes the importance of effective cleansing. These small infections can come from inappropriate aftercare products, dirty piercing tools, allergic reactions to jewelry, and more. However, bumps around your piercing can also be keloids, or thicker, raised scars that tend to develop near the puncture area.

The best way to avoid bumps is to follow the steps above and cleanse the piercing site thoroughly.

How Long Does It Take a Nose Piercing to Heal?

According to Nazarian, nasal piercings take about 90 days on average to heal, but the first few weeks are when the greatest risk of infection happens. No matter how long you wait, just be sure to replace any removed jewelry in a fairly quick amount of time, because all piercings can close up without jewelry, even if they’re fully healed.

It’s imperative that you don’t touch, move, or replace a nose piercing until it’s fully healed. It’s recommended to wait at least six months, no matter the piercing, but the longer you give a piercing to heal, the more you can be sure it’s safe. A good marker to see if your jewelry is ready to be changed is if you no longer have any pain, tenderness, discomfort, or discharge. Any of these symptoms means you’re not yet ready for new jewelry.

The nose piercing site goes through a few different stages of healing, though it’s important that you keep the wound clean to be sure everything goes smoothly. Make sure you take diligent care of your piercing during the first few days, as the tissue around the piercing site is regrowing and most sensitive then. Expect to experience some pain, warmth, or bleeding during this period, too, so don’t automatically assume these are symptoms of infection. This behavior can occur for up to three weeks (and experience tenderness for up to six weeks), but the lack of symptoms does not mean your nose piercing is fully healed.

Avoid direct contact with make-up, ointments, face creams, and/or harsh soaps or skin products after a new piercing.

When to See a Doctor

It’s normal for new nose piercings to have pain, bleeding, or discharge while they’re healing, but anything more than minor irritation or annoyance is cause for concern. If the site looks bright red or otherwise unusually colored, is oozing thick yellow or green discharge, or forms blisters, you should seek medical attention. There are also a number of non-visible symptoms of an infected nose piercing, like feeling extremely tender to the touch, smelling foul, being disruptively itchy, feeling overly painful, and having a fever. Any and all of these symptoms are signs that you should call a doctor as soon as possible.

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“Make sure to contact your physician if the area has increasing or worsening redness, tenderness, crusting, or draining. The area of surrounding skin might be slightly pink following the piercing, but not exquisitely painful or tender,” says Nazarian.

How to Effectively Heal an Infected Nose Piercing (Science Based)

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If you recently have had your nose pierced, you may want to know how to treat an infected nose piercing. Unfortunately, nose piercing infections are a common complication after getting a nose ring or stud. What was supposed to enhance your beauty can quickly become an unsightly infected hole that looks red, oozes fluid and pus, and possibly forms a scab or bump on your nose.

Infections can develop in nose piercings if bacteria or germs get into the piercing. There are a few reasons why infected piercings in the nose are common. For example, there are already a lot of bacteria in the nose that can infect the new hole. Also, many people are self-conscious of their new nose piercing and touch it often, thus spreading germs and dirt. This can cause a Staphylococcus bacterial infection in the wound.

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Of course, the best way to deal with a nose piercing infection is to prevent any germs affecting the piercing in the first place. However, what can you do if you notice signs of a skin infection around the nose ring or stud?

In this article, you will find out how to quickly treat a nose piercing infection. This will help to prevent any infection getting worse and will get rid of the signs of an infected pierced nose fast. At the end of the article you will learn when you should see a doctor if the nose piercing infection looks bad.

Symptoms of Infected Nose Piercing or Infected Nose Ring

Usually, with the proper aftercare, most people are able to avoid infections in a nose piercing. How can you tell if your nose piercing is infected?

The first sign that an infection has developed in your nose piercing is some redness and pain around the piercing site. Of course, in the first few days after any piercing, it is natural that there will be some signs of skin irritation.

However if your nose piercing becomes infected, the surrounding skin will usually be red and swollen. You may also suffer from pain around the infected nose ring or stud. You may also develop a nose piercing bump and there will probably be a yellowish pus-like discharge that fills the bump.

According to doctors from the National Health Service (NHS), signs of a nose piercing infection include tenderness when touching the nose, discharge from the nostril where the nose jewelry is, and a fever. 1

Doctors from the Mayo Clinic say that another complication from nose piercings could be a nose piercing bump. The most common reasons for developing a nose piercing bump are some kind of trauma or infection in the pierced area (nose piercing infection). 2

Infected Nose Piercing or Nose Ring Infection – Causes

Bacterial infection in nose piercing

The most common cause of an infected nose piercing is a bacterial infection in the wound. According to the American Family Physician, the nose ring or stud infection can be caused by the Staphylococcus bacteria that commonly colonize the nasal cavity. 3

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The Journal of the American Medical Association reported that bacterial skin infections are also common in cartilage piercings. This can happen because of unsafe or unhygienic piercing practices or failing to care properly for the infected wound. However, nose cartilage and ear cartilage piercings are more difficult to treat because there is no blood supply to the area. 4

Infection in nose cartridge piercing

One of the causes of nose piercing infections is the fact that cartilage in the nose takes longer to heal than piercing skin – for example, piercing your earlobe or getting your belly button pierced.

According to the journal American Family Physician, cartilage infections are more problematic to heal. A nose piercing can cause significant bleeding which can lead to nasal septal hematoma ( a collection of blood within the septum of the nose ) which will result in an infection of the nasal passages. 3

Infected nose piercing vs. allergy to piercing jewelry

Symptoms of an infected nose piercing can be similar to an allergic reaction to the metal in the nose ring or stud.

According to doctors from the Mayo Clinic, symptoms of an allergic reaction to body piercing jewelry are commonly associated with nickel. An allergy to jewelry used in a nose piercing can have symptoms like a red itchy rash, bumps around the jewelry, and fluid that drains from the piercing site. 5

One way to tell if the nose piercing is infected or showing signs of an allergy is to treat the piercing as you would if it was infected. Using natural remedies for nose piercing infections should help to clear the symptoms in a few days.

If you still have redness, pus draining from the piercing, and an itchy nose, you should see your doctor. It is also advisable to see your doctor for a checkup before using the home remedies to evaluate the severity of the infection.

Home Remedies for Infected Nose Piercing (Including How to Clean a Nose Piercing)

Let’s look at some of the best home remedies if your pierced nose is showing signs of infection.

Sea salt rinse to treat and clean an infected nose piercing

The best way to treat an infected nose piercing is to rinse the red itchy area around the ring or stud with a salt water solution.

Salt water helps to kill off bacteria in the wound and promote healing in the infection around nose piercing. The British Journal of Plastic Surgery reported that a saline solution speeds up wound healing due to a process called osmosis. The salt water removes pus and discharge from infected wounds and accelerates healing. 6

According to doctors from the NHS, salt water on a piercing is the first step in caring for a piercing wound. In fact, you should bathe or rinse the nose piercing twice a day immediately after piercing to help prevent bacterial infections in your nose. 1

How to use salt water remedy for treating infection after nose piercing

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This is how to make your own salt water remedy to clean the infected nose piercing and get rid of any signs of infection.

  1. Mix 1/4 teaspoon salt in a cup of warm water and stir until the salt has dissolved.
  2. Soak a cotton ball in the salt solution.
  3. Place the compress on the infected skin area on your nose and hold for a few minutes.
  4. Rinse the nose piercing wound with warm water and dry with a clean paper towel.
  5. Clean the nose piercing using the salt solution 2-3 times to treat the infection and encourage faster wound healing.
  6. Continue applying the saline remedy to your infection every day until there are no signs of an infection on your nose.

Using warm water in the remedy helps the salt to dissolve and also promotes healing by increasing blood circulation to the infection around the nose ring or stud.

Tea tree oil for cleaning an infected nose piercing site

You can use tea tree oil to treat an infected nose piercing because of its strong antibacterial properties.

Tea tree oil contains many compounds that help piercing wounds heal quicker and prevent further infections. For example, according to studies published in the journal Clinical Microbiology Reviews, tea tree oil is effective enough to kill off Staphylococcus bacteria strains. Also, tea tree oil has anti-inflammatory properties that can help to soothe redness and itching around the nose piercing wound. 7

The benefit of using tea tree oil for a swollen nose piercing is that it is gentle enough to be used undiluted directly on small areas of skin.

How to use tea tree oil to clean an infected nose piercing

It is very easy to use a few drops of tea tree oil to treat a piercing infection. This is what you should do:

  1. Put a few drops of tea tree oil on the end of a clean cotton bud.
  2. Gently dab the tea tree oil to the skin around the infected nose ring.
  3. Clean the nose piercing area 2-3 times a day for best results.
  4. If you also want to apply the tea tree oil to the inside of your nostril, use another cotton bud to prevent transferring germs.

If tea tree oil irritates your skin too much, you can mix it with a little coconut oil to create your own healing ointment. Coconut oil doesn’t just help kill off bacteria from the skin, its fatty acid content helps to moisturize the nose wound as it is healing.

This is what you should do:

  1. Mix 2-3 drops of tea tree oil with a tablespoon of coconut oil.
  2. Use a clean cotton swab to apply the coconut oil remedy to the pierced nose infection.
  3. Clean the piercing site 2-3 times a day to promote healing and soothe discomfort from the infection on your nose.
  4. Continue using until your no longer have signs of an infection around the nose stud or ring.
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Apple cider vinegar to treat swollen nose piercing infection

Apple cider vinegar is a natural remedy that has antiseptic properties to help treat a swollen nose piercing infection.

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The healing power of apple cider vinegar is due to its high content of acetic acid. According to a scientific study in the European Journal of General Medicine, solutions that contain 3% to 5% acetic acid have disinfectant properties that promote wound healing. Researchers who conducted the study stated that apple cider vinegar can be used to treat antibiotic-resistant strains of bacteria. It is non-toxic and an inexpensive way to treat skin wounds. 8

How to use apple cider vinegar to effectively treat nose piercing infections:

This is how to make your own apple cider vinegar natural home remedy for healing nose piercing infection:

  1. Dilute raw apple cider vinegar with equal quantities of water.
  2. Dip a cotton ball in the vinegar solution and apply to the infected skin around the nose ring.
  3. Rinse with warm water.
  4. Apply 2-3 times a day to help remove pus, crusting, and other signs of a bacterial infection in your nose piercing.

An apple cider vinegar solution is also great for treating other skin ailments like soothing the discomfort eczema causes, helping to treat psoriasis symptoms, and getting rid of acne naturally.

Aloe vera to heal nose piercing infection

Aloe vera can help to remove itching, redness, and oozing fluid from a nose piercing that has become infected.

According to a review of the healing power of aloe vera for skin wounds, the Natural Medical Journal reported that aloe vera helps wounds heal quicker. The benefit of aloe vera on infected wounds is that it has natural antioxidants and it reduces bacterial inflammation. It also boosts the skin’s production of collagen to assist in healing a wound without a scar. 9

How to use aloe vera as an infected nose piercing treatment

If you have an aloe vera plant at home, you can use the flesh from a leaf as a natural gel. Or, you can buy aloe vera gel with as few added ingredients as possible. This is what you should do to treat a nose piercing infection at home:

  1. Apply a little aloe vera with a clean cotton swab to the pierced area around nostril that has signs of an infection.
  2. Leave to dry.
  3. Use the aloe vera remedy 2-3 times a day to help the nose piercing infection heal quickly.
  4. Aloe vera is also gentle enough to help clear an infection inside your nostril.

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Other Remedies for Healing an Infected Nose Ring

There are a number of other home remedies that you can use to treat nose piercing infections naturally.

Calendula. According to the journal Wounds, calendula helps to successfully treat wounds and alleviate pain. Calendula has an antimicrobial activity and will reduce signs of inflammation to accelerate wound healing. 10

To make a natural calendula ointment, add 2-3 drops of calendula essential oil to a tablespoon coconut oil. Apply to the skin area of the nose where you have signs of an infection twice daily.

Chamomile. Using chamomile tea bags is one way to make a warm natural compress to heal a nose piercing infection. Studies into chamomile have shown that chamomile extracts can speed up wound healing and soothe irritation at the same time. 11

To make a warm chamomile compress, place a chamomile tea bag in a cup of hot water and allow to infuse for a few minutes. Remove from the water, squeeze the excess, and allow to cool slightly. Hold on the chamomile tea bag on the infected nostril for a few minutes. Repeat 2-3 times a day until the nose infection around the piercing has healed completely.

How Long Does Infected Nose Piercing Take to Heal?

Dr. William Blahd on WebMD says that it may take 4-6 weeks for some piercings to heal. 12 However, doctors from the National Health Service say that a nose piercing will take up to 6 months to heal. This may take longer if the nose piercing has become infected. 14

How to Prevent Nose Piercing Infection

To prevent a nose piercing infection, it’s essential to follow the aftercare instructions you receive from the piercer. This usually includes rinsing with a saline solution 2 times a day for a few weeks or even a few months. You should continue doing this until the wound heals and there is no sign of redness or discharge.

However, there are other steps that you can take to prevent complications after getting your nose pierced. Doctors from the Mayo Clinic advise the following safety precautions to prevent nose piercings becoming infected: 13

  • Always clean your hands with an antibacterial soap before and after touching a nose piercing that is healing.
  • Never attempt to pierce your nose yourself and always go to a reputable piercing salon.
  • Insist that the piercer wears gloves to prevent spreading infection.
  • Make sure that all equipment is sterilized or disinfected.
  • To prevent skin irritation that allergic reactions cause, get nose rings or studs that are from surgical steel, or 14 or 18-karat gold.
  • Avoid swimming until the nose piercing has completely healed.
  • Don’t fiddle with the nose stud unless you are cleaning it.
  • Don’t pick at discharge that has hardened.

Nose Piercing Without Infection (Keloids or Granulomas)

Not all nose piercing complications involve infections. Sometimes a bump around the nose piercing site can form.

Granuloma. Nose bumps just beside a piercing could be a granuloma. This is an overgrowth of tissue that forms as the wound is healing.

Keloid. A keloid is a whitish looking nose bump that is formed by scar tissue in the pierced hole. There is no way to prevent keloids forming and some people are more prone than others to them.

When to See a Doctor for Nose Piercing Infection

You know it’s time to see a doctor for a nose piercing infection if there is no improvement in your symptoms or if an infection starts getting worse.

According to doctors from the National Health Service, you should seek medical care immediately if you suffer from the following symptoms of a nose piercing infection: 14

  • Swelling and redness around the wound doesn’t get better when bathing with a saline solution.
  • The wound area starts to throb and feels warm to touch.
  • The piercing becomes increasingly more painful to touch.
  • You have a yellowish or green discharge from the wound.

Read these related articles:

  • How to Get Rid of Nose Piercing Bump: Home Remedies that Really Work
  • How to Get Rid of a Bump Inside Nose: The Most Effective Home Remedies
  • Pimple Inside Nose: Causes, Symptoms and Effective Natural Treatments

Article Sources

  1. NHS. Body piercing.
  2. MayoClinic. Piercings: How to prevent complications.
  3. Am Fam Physician. 2005 Nov 15;72(10):2029-2034.
  4. WebMD. Cartilage piercings riskier than earlobes.
  5. MayoClinic. Nickel allergy.
  6. Br J Plast Surg.2000 Jan;53(1):42-5.
  7. Clin Microbiol Rev. 2006 Jan; 19(1): 50–62.
  8. Eur J Gen Med. 5, No. 2, 2008, pp. 104-106.
  9. NaturalMedicineJournal. Aloe vera gel research review.
  10. WoundsResearch. Calendula officinalis and wound healing.
  11. Mol Med Report. 2010 Nov 1; 3(6): 895–901.
  12. WebMD. Body piercing problems.
  13. MayoClinic. Adult health.
  14. CIEH. Ear and face piercing aftercare.

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How to Effectively Heal an Infected Nose Piercing (Science Based) was last modified: July 17th, 2018 by Jenny Hills, Nutritionist and Medical Writer

Now You Nose: How Long Does a Nose Piercing Take to Heal?

Everyone nose piercings are rad. They’re a great way to express yourself and can be very meaningful. The downside — other than the ouchie itself — is that they can take a while to heal.

Here’s how long the most popular types of nose piercings take to heal. We also have important deets on aftercare, risks, and infection treatments.

Nose piercing healing times

Most nose piercings will heal within 2 to 9 months.

The exact timeline depends on the piercing location, piercing method, style of jewelry, and how well you care for the wound as it heals.

female with a healed nose piercing

Here’s a rundown of the average healing times of the most common types of nose piercings.

Nostrils

A nostril (aka nares) piercing goes through the soft cartilage on either side of your nasal passages.

Expect a healing time of 4 to 6 months, depending on the type of jewelry. Thicker gauges tend to take longer to heal than thin rings.

Septum

Your septum is the thin layer of nerves, skin, and blood vessels between your nostrils. It’s a delicate area, so these piercings tend to hurt more than nostril piercings.

The good news? Septum piercings usually heal faster. Most folks bounce back in 2 to 3 months.

Bridge

Bridge piercings pass through a small section of skin on the very top of your nose, almost near the eyebrows.

Since very little tissue is being pierced, bridge piercings usually heal in 2 to 3 months.

Nasallang

Nasallang piercings are pretty complex. They go through the septum and both nostrils. That’s why you should def go to an experienced piercer to get this done.

The average healing time is 4 to 6 months.

Vertical nose tip (aka rhino)

This piercing goes through the tip of your nose in a vertical straight line. Think of it as an inverse septum piercing, only way less common.

Because the tissue on the tip of your nose is fairly thick, these piercings heal more slowly. Most folks say it takes about 6 to 9 months.

Lots of factors can impact your nose piercing’s healing timeline. Here’s the DL.

Location

Some parts of the nose heal faster than others. For example, a rhino piercing that goes through a thick section of nose tip tissue will take longer to heal than, say, a bridge piercing.

Picking at skin

Do *not* pick at your piercing. We know the temptation is real, but picking can irritate the wound and increase your risk of infection, lengthening recovery time.

Pulling or playing

Heads up: It’s a total myth that you’re supposed to twist or turn your piercing as it heals.

IRL, touching your piercing can agitate the wound. It can also be hella painful if you tug too hard or get your jewelry snagged on a sweater. Trust us.

Type of jewelry

Be careful with the type of jewelry you use. The safest metals are solid gold, niobium, titanium, or surgical stainless steel. Nickel, on the other hand, is more likely to cause an allergic reaction or turn your skin green. Yuck.

Reminder: Thicker gauges take longer to heal than thinner posts.

Piercing method

Piercing guns are the pits. Go for a needle instead.

Piercing guns cause more trauma to sensitive tissue and prolong the healing process. They’re also more likely to cause scarring or infections compared to a clean needle and an experienced hand.

Cleaning regimen

Aftercare is a huge part of the healing process. Clean and care for your piercing like you would any other wound. (More on that in a minute.)

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Alex Koliada, PhD

Alex Koliada, PhD

Alex Koliada, PhD, is a well-known doctor. He is famous for his studies of ageing, genetics and other medical conditions. He works at the Institute of Food Biotechnology and Genomics NAS of Ukraine. His scientific researches are printed by the most reputable international magazines. Some of his works are: Differences in the gut Firmicutes to Bacteroidetes ratio across age groups in healthy Ukrainian population [BiomedCentral.com]; Mating status affects Drosophila lifespan, metabolism and antioxidant system [Science Direct]; Anise Hyssop Agastache foeniculum Increases Lifespan, Stress Resistance, and Metabolism by Affecting Free Radical Processes in Drosophila [Frontiersin].
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